Witch Watch is a manga that feels like it is covering quite a few genres. We have a situation where two teenagers with special abilities show up. There are hints that one, a witch named Nico, will eventually be in danger and need her bodyguard/familiar, an ogre named Morihito, to step up. It also can sometimes seem like some romantic comedy elements come into play, since the duo share some chemistry. However at its outset, what really ensures it works is the occasionally ridiculous dynamic and situations the two get into as a young witch trying to do good and young man attempting to save her from herself.
Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for Witch Watch to get silly. The dynamic between Morihito and Nico is a good example. He’s a very grounded and pragmatic individual. He’s often realistic. She’s more idealistic and naive. It allows for opportunities for Nico to be over the top, while Morihito can be the voice of reason and save the day.
A good example comes when Nico shows Morihito what her magic can do. She wants to show how she can use a spell to turn anything to paper. Since he’s unwilling to provide any of his things as an example, due to her breaking his favorite mug with another spell, she casts it on herself. She then… blows away. He chases her down and needs to destroy a wall so she doesn’t suddenly become 3D again when trapped in a crack between two buildings.
It also means we get moments in which we see Nico’s idealized version of a situation and the reality of it all. For example, Morihito and Nico reuniting is a good example. She expects a scene out of a shojo manga. One where the two immediately blush, promise to never part again, and walk away as a couple. In reality, she crashes through the glass patio door, he’s all business when they reintroduce themselves, and immediately sees it as a “can’t be helped” situation.
This is all a good set up for upcoming events. The Witch Watch manga hints that something bad is coming. It is part of why Morihito is her bodyguard in the first place. By establishing this tone, there’s a sense of what the dynamic could be. The stage is being set for both characters to grow. This first volume establishes Nico’s desire to help people. There’s her willingness to try. We also see Morihito grow to accept who he is and his power. As the story goes on in the initial chapters, we see him willingly use his strength for the sake of Nico and others.
Witch Watch is lighthearted, which works for it. We already have an idea things will eventually turn serious. There are also hints at the strength both Morihito and Nico will possess. But it also seems like Kenta Shinohara understands there is no rush to get to dire situations. As such, for now people can just enjoy the silliness of the situation. Which given the dynamic between the characters and their personalities, works quite well.